Category Archives: choice

At Dulcarnoun

Last night, as I was doing my Chaucer research, finishing up my bibliography on the Tales, I found some interesting scholarship on Troilus and Criseyde. I remember how much I loved Criseyde when I first read the story, and decided to reread it. I have only made it to the end of book four thus far, but I recall writing a paper in which I compared her to the formel in the Parlement of Foules.
I focused on the phrase “at dulcarnoun” and what it means for both Criseyde, to whom it is attributed, but also the formel who ironically makes a choice to make no choice, and through hesitation and avoidance is able to mitigate an otherwise unpleasant situation. When Criseyde finds herself at dulcarnoun, her hesitation opposes the formel’s. She does not refrain from agency in a cunning attempt at a favorable outcome. Poor Criseyde just doesn’t seem to know any better. At that moment, as Pandarus is pressing her, I always had this image of a woman completely at a loss. I pictured Cordelia in Laurence Olivier’s King Lear during the first scene. Unlike the formel who gives up her choice for self interest, Criseyde never really had a choice, and hardly any self interest. In her last act of agency, as she makes her promise to Troilus, she does not yet realize the futility of her decision. In fact, I would like to say she never actually realizes it.
Even though I know how the story ends, I can’t wait to finish it tonight. I also can’t help but wonder how many textual studies there for the Troilus and Criseyde manuscripts. There are 16 of them, and the illuminations are gorgeous (featured above is the Lansdowne MS at the British Library). But I wonder about the discrepancies of text. I wonder if the lines vary simply in character choices, or language usage, or if there where there scribal editions in which the actual story changed. Is there an extant version where Criseyde does not find herself at dulcarnoun?

Abortion Is Not Selfish

Abortion is not selfish. There I have said it, and now let the lynching begin. But before the virtual stoning commences, you have to read why, along with my disclaimer.
I am a mother of two (the second one is scheduled to pop out any day now). I personally could not envision my life without Munchie and Ducky. I am not even sure I could go through with an abortion.
But there are a lot of people out there who should not have children, either because they are bad parents, or simply because they did not want children to being with and these children will now grow up being resented and/or neglected. Which basically means these are bad parents. Regardless of how you look at it, these children will have deprived childhoods, and this will ultimately affect them the rest of their lives.
Essentially these mothers who are having abortions are saving their unborn children from years of emotional, and in a lot of cases, physical, anguish. Which is the responsible thing to do. Why bring a child into the world that you are going to neglect or resent?
What about adoption? Well, here is another question. Aren’t there enough children in this world who need to be adopted into loving homes? Isn’t there enough starvation, poverty and neglect? Do we need to add more children to the mix?
I agree that abortion should not be the option used in lieu of birth control, and there is a fine line between full on acceptance of the practice and outright misuse. However, before condemning anyone and everyone who has ever had to go through with it, put yourself in their shoes, realize that it was probably a very difficult situation and decision, and the outcome is most likely what is/was best for the unborn child. The mother is not being selfish by looking out for herself. She understands herself better than anyone else, and knows she is not the right person for the job.
How do you feel about abortion?